Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The race for another kind of cure

If you looking to donate to a cause this year, I have a friend who is biking in the Bike MS fundraiser. It's a personal soft spot, because I have MS. I wish Janell many happy and fruitful miles on her quest. Many thanks!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Household cleaning tip: Use vinegar

It all started with a nasty, calcium-caked on dishwasher. After looking up online what I could do to clean it out—because obviously using dishwasher detergent was only adding to the caked-on mess—I found the solution to be simple: vinegar. I know, I hate those home-remedy tips too, but I was willing to give it a try after commercial I'll-eat-your-skin-off-if-you-don't-wear-gloves cleaners don't seem to work. Plus, if those chemicals aren't healthy enough to touch, then what are they doing once they go down the drain? I can only imagine. So in went the vinegar to run for a cycle. The results: Although not completely rid of the white, crunchy residue, it was noticeably cleaner, and I think if I maybe run a vinegar cycle every few weeks, my dishwasher might start to be a useful, clean appliance.

But because vinegar proved so useful for my dishwasher, I wondered what it could do on a small, more concentrated level. Test item: my water-stained drinking glasses (courtesy of said dishwasher). So I poured a little in a glass and waited. Holy smokes! My glasses look like new, and I've completely fallen in love with them all over again. Next I tried my tea kettle. (Thanks Charissa! My tea pot is a gift that keeps on giving. I think of you every time I use it!) Eudora is infamous for its hard water, and my tea kettle had started to show the strain, but the vinegar conquered. Now my kettle is nice, new, and lovely.

I've ran out of vinegar at this point (I only had 3/4 bottle to start with), but I plan on stocking up more and using it in other places around the house instead of using those nausea-inducing cleaners. Better for the earth, and clearly, better for a cleaner household. Don't forget the price-savings too! Mom would be proud.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just the motivation I needed

Today was one of those days. I woke up cranky; I showered and dressed cranky; I drove to work cranky; I worked cranky, until it was time to head to the Plaza to enjoy a nice steak linner (lunch/dinner) during the regional ASBPE awards banquet. The editorial staff didn't take anything home, but Amanda won a much-deserved award for one of her masterful design creations. Way to go Amanda!

Besides the steak, listening to the speaker talk about his many awards and how his publication wins so many (he even choked up at one point talking about his win for an editorial letter he wrote about his friend dying of brain cancer; it broke my heart, and it made me want to go work for him), it gave me just the motivation and turnabout I needed for my day and renewed spirit for my job. After watching and listening to other publications accept awards, I wanted one myself. So I've decided to set a new goal for myself at work: write a feature. I've never written anything longer than 1200 words, so writing an in-depth feature will require lots of time I'm not sure I have. If I plan it right, though, I can take a few months to research and write. Of course, this requires I talk to the Big Heads, but I'm sure they'll be fine with it; it's free labor. And just maybe next year I can snag one of those awards myself. Now I just have to hold myself to the goal. It's all about follow through.

Music mood: The Hives, "Try It Again"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy birthday blog

This blog passed its 100-post anniversary. You've been a warm and comforting spot to write. Happy Birthday (of sorts) View!

Little moments

I don't have kids—yet. But from time to time, special moments pass by between Jonathan and I, and even friends and family, that I feel are too cute not to be shared. So from now on, I'll be posting these little moments. Here's just a couple from this weekend:

Moment #1:
Jonathan heading off to the bathroom with my latest edition of InStyle magazine "just to see what it was." What he did think? "It's about as enjoyable as you'd find Sport Illustrated. Plus, what's all those ads about?" Thanks for trying, honey; that's why I love you.

Moment #2:
Jonathan always does laundry in our house. (Lucky, I know, right?) He enjoys doing it, and heck, I'll let him keep enjoying it all he wants. He always stays caught up too. This weekend he asked me, "Want to know a secret?" Why does your mind and your whole body freeze when someone asks you that? (Probably because you know it'll be an internal struggle to not tell someone, or post it on this blog.) "Okay, what's the secret?" "I love it when I grab the exact number of hangers I need when I do laundry." That simple, and that great.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Restaurant review: Raglan Road

I ventured out for lunch today with coworkers to Kansas City's infamous Power & Light District to enjoy Irish fare. Although the interior was spacious and impressive, that's where the pleasantries end. I ordered the very expensive fish and chips (or according to the menu: Fish &; I'm not sure if that was a typo or not. Our British waiter said the menu had gone through so many iterations to misspellings alone). Okay, so it was $14 fish and chips. I think you can expect to expect some good fish and chips for that price. Accompanying the fish and chips was a pea shot, and that's where this story takes a turn or spill for the worst: a waitress, upon delivering my fancy plate, complete with fish and chips in a wire cone, the shot glass full of pea soup dives off the plate. Or at least I think it did; I can't exactly remember because I was thinking the entire time, "Oh shit. That doesn't look stable." While most of the green goo tipped over onto the plate, the other portion landed on the table, and much to chagrin: my lap. Thank god for Tide pens and the invisible shield protecting the white T-shirt I was wearing.

Of course the waitress was extremely apologetic and had it cleaned up from my plate in no time, mopped up with cloth napkins. Had I been the waitress, I think I would have immediately returned the plate. Instead, she just gave me a new order of a pea shot after wiping my plate clean.

The fish and chips were, well, I get more excited about my cooking than what I ate. Granted, I'm learning I'm a fairly descent cook, so maybe it's not hard to surpass restaurant fare anymore. The fish, while hot, was very bland. I was dipping my bites heavily in the tarter sauce, which was the only good thing on my plate. The chips, or fries, were the thick, chunky kind. Not quite steak fries. They were mushy in the middle—not how a fry is supposed to be at all.

And what about that pea shot? It seriously was a pea shot, complete with the shot glass. I've never had pea soup, and when I had it spilled on me, I smelled the very distinct hint of mint. Not a good sign. I decided that, because the shot had been the cause of so much trouble, I should at least sample it. One tiny sip revealed that it was indeed infused with mint. So I passed it on to Rick, one of my coworkers, who said he absolutely loved pea soup. He downed it, shot-style. At least someone enjoyed it.

After all that, I thought, "Okay, well, that wasn't worth my excitement, but maybe they won't have charged me the full price of the meal after the pea soup fiasco." Wrong. $19 later and a new stain to my skirt, I was ready to leave Raglan Road.

Ambiance: B+
The place is very cavernous, so it was easy to hear my lunch party; I've heard it can get pretty loud in the evenings though. The place is outfitted with heavy wood and leather. I also liked the design treatment of both the coasters and the menu.
Waitstaff: C
In hindsight, the waitress/server, I felt, made a grievous mistake in just mopping up my plate in front of me. I also felt that the price of my food, which landing in my lap, should have been deducted, at least by a few dollars.
Food: C-
The food didn't really promise on an Irish gastronomy experience. Rather, I felt I had gone to a quaint pub with overpriced fare with clever Irish names. In the review of the restaurant, Lauren Chapin summed it up best: Everything needed a bit of salt.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are you pregnant?

How come whenever you are of childbearing years and sick, people immediately ask, "Are you pregnant?" And then followed by, "Are you sure?" Believe me, I'm sure. Do you want the details or something? Plus, if I were, my baby would be scrambled from an MRI, CT scan, and antibiotics (there I go again sounding like a hypochondriac). My baby would literally be over-easy. Ugh.

I actually find it pretty funny that people ask me, because most people know of The Plan (i.e. house, pay down debt, maybe a new car, a trip abroad, read all the books on New York Times' best-seller list perhaps). Also, unlike most people who can whilly nilly decide to have a kid (you know who you are), there's some planning that has to take place for me. First, I have to switch medications, which involves a very painful switch to a once-a-day shot. I'm holding out as long as possible on that one. My stomach already looks as if I have leprosy from being a human pin cushion. (And if you're wondering: Yes, I give shots in my stomach; it's one of my favorite places because a) it's very accessible; just lift the shirt and stick vs other areas such as the arms which take some twisting or the hips which require moving the boobs out of the way to see what the hell you're doing; b) contrary to what you would think, the stomach is one of the least painful places to give shot; well, unless your body fat index is next to nothing.)

Second reason for holding out: Where would I put the baby? Seriously! We'd be tripping over it, and then end up in the emergency room having to explain why a) the baby was injured from being fallen on, and b) how you trip over a baby in the first place. I'm sure some of you are thinking that a baby doesn't require that much room, but don't be fooled, they come with STUFF. High chairs, clothes they outgrow too quickly, nose sucky things, diapers out the wahzoo, tiny shoes, little bathtubs, swings, stow and goes (a.k.a. Pak and Plays), toys, toys, and more toys.

So until further notice, no, I'm not pregnant, but thanks for asking. Just be careful, my evil, wicked side might come out and say yes just to psych you out. Plus, why do I need to have a baby yet when there will be plenty to go around soon? I'm sure someone would be willing to share.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Am I lame?

Okay, I really shouldn't even admit it, but: I watch Tori Spelling's reality TV show. I'm a horrible person. I think I watch to see how abnormal her and her husband are, but surprising, they're not. Yeah, I'm that lame. Sigh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mmm, food.

I could never be bulimic. I love food, but not enough to see it in reverse. Today, I stayed home from work and so did Jonathan to see if the Stomach would accept some food, and to make sure he wouldn't need to take me to the doctor...or worse, the hospital. So we tested slowly:

Plain toast, check. Another piece of plain toast, still feeling fine. Granola bar stolen right from Jonathan's hand, oh that was yummy. At this point, I was rummaging in the refrigerator like a dog. Oh, tortillas! I'll take two of those. Damn, those Mexicans know bread. Downed one bottle of orange Gatorade, so refreshing. What's that you're having dear, a BLT? Hmm, I better test that for you. Couple bites of that.

Oh, and shower. Something I hadn't felt like doing since Saturday. Hmmm, I'm feeling very...tired.

So I zonked out for a while, until I bolted straight awake (eek! room spun a little), and just had to check work email. For some reason, I always feel so guilty when I'm not in the barracks and my comrades are. Ahh, things are being handled just fine without me. Hmm, maybe I need another tortilla and another glass of gatorade.

To end the day of reintroducing my system to food: a much-awaited BLT (tomatoes bought from the little street vendor farmer up the road) and grilled sweet corn on the cob (from the street vendor).

So far, so good, and I'm so freaking happy. I was in tears yesterday with all the upchucking (seriously, why does the body need to upchuck it's on stomach acid?) I guess my body just needed to cleanse itself, or some other curious mystery of Jessaca's body. I seriously could write a book: The Many Mysteries and Unfortunate Events of Jessaca's Body. Next up: a CT scan of the sinuses just to see if there's anything to see, and a possible reason why every time I have drainage, I end up with an ear infection. I wonder if I could get a job as a consultant? Having an MRI? Have questions? Having your ear whacked off, rebuilt, and reattached? Have concerns? Have a kidney stone? In pain?

In case you're wondering, I'm am not a hypochondriac.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The continuing saga of vomit

I can't seem to keep anything down. Not even chicken noodle soup. I thought that having finished my really strong antibiotics for my ear infection would have helped, but nope. So that means it could be caused from the nausea from the MS-related dizziness. My body has been empty for a day now. Food has never been less appealing when I know there's a strong likelihood that I will just see it again. In reverse. Yuck.

I did manage to make a very cute card on Friday (when I was feel semi descent). It's one in a series of belated birthday cards I need to make and send out, but I'm thinking that cards are just going to have to wait while the puke goes on, and on, and on...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

G stands for grilling

We finally did it. After three years, we bought a propane tank for our gas grill that has set on our patio since being bought, waiting to be used. I know, really, how does a person buy a grill and never even light it up? Things, uh, came up. But we broke it in in prime style. On the 4th, we grill hamburgers, later we grill hot dogs—lots of hot dogs. Today, the grill fest was on! Sweet corn on the cob we bought from a street-side vendor, BBQ'd chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes, and even buttered bread. Yum-mee. I also got my tired butt off the couch long enough to make chocolate-dipped spritz cookies. What a tasty weekend. Even if I do feel like someone stole my frigging energy source.

I also got out long enough this weekend to buy a humming bird feeder, but I didn't get around to making cards. The couch just felt too good and I felt too bad. I honestly feel now like I need to go on prozac because I feel guilty I didn't get much done. The guilt monster! I know, I'll post pictures later of my cookies and my bird feeder and then my weekend will look accomplished, right?

By the way, Stacey, happy belated birthday. So sorry I forgot! Hope it was a good one!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th!

Ugh. So glad for that half day from work and having tomorrow off. Between new lesions that showed up on my MRI—that most likely account for my inability to move very fast and feeling tired, dizzy, and nauseous—and this antibiotic (it's some strong stuff) I'm taking for my ear infection, I'm one helpless basket case. Got home in time to throw up. I hate throwing up. So on the couch I went for the rest of this evening. I did finish Barefoot (read my review post here).

I managed to stop by Archiver's before leaving the city. I signed up for an acrylic album workshop (Chance would be so proud) and bought some fabulous paper for which I hope to have enough energy to make some cards with this weekend. Also to do this weekend: bake some cookies and research about my new lesions.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't drink the water

I guess it's public news, so I might as well share it here too: My sister Rebecca is pregnant as well. Due around the same time as Chance. I'm thinking about officially changing my first name to Aunt Jessie.